Things That I Make Up

So very often in discussing matters of theological importance the common complaint against the Orthodox distinction between essence and energy raises its head. The claim comes in a variety of forms but usually the gist is that this is a “later development” read back into earlier theological works.  If I think that they are present in these earlier works, I am essentially believing a fiction, for it just ain’t so, or so I am often told. This was a common refrain back on Pontifications.

Needless to say I disagree. What I wish to do here is some work to put that claim to rest. If some form of a distinction between essence and energy can be found, say among the Platonists, this makes it all the more unlikely that the distinction is a product of later Palamitic “developments.”

Plato argues for instance that objects are distinguished by opposition. Hot and cold are all and only what they are and never their opposite. The problem is that at times these two powers can be perceived to mix as when something is tepid or when ice melts.

“So the hot is something other than fire, and the cold is something other than snow?-Yes.” Phaedo 103d

If the hot and the cold are different than their instances, it seems absurd to say that fire for example isn’t genuinely hot. There must be something else related to the hot in the fire that makes the fire hot.

“It is true then about some of these things that not only the Form itself deserves its own name for all time, but there is something else that is not the Form but has its character whenever it exists.” Phaedo 103e

This other thing is an extension of the form’s causal power, for this is what forms are. They are not abstract entities for abstract entities cause nothing. It is a great mistake to take Platonic forms as some other worldly object divorced from experience. Forms are qualities, properties or whatever name you like, it matters not, for forms are the causes of things in Plato’s estimation.

What Plato thinks occurs in physical objects is that the causal power of various forms extend themselves and they reach an equilibrium or one power via its extension drives out the other.

“Now it seems to me that not only Tallness itself is never willing to be tall and short at the same time, but also that the tallness in us will never admit the short or be overcome, but one of two things happens: either it flees and retreats whenever its opposite, the short, approaches, or it is destroyed by its approach. It is not willing to endure and admit shortness and be other than it was, whereas I admit and endure shortness and still remain the same person and am this short man. But Tallness, being tall, cannot venture to be small. In the same way, the short in us is unwilling to become or to be tall ever, nor does any other of the opposites become or be its opposite while still being what it was; either it goes away or is destroyed when that happens.” Phaedo 102d-103a.

The power or form itself is never driven out for this is to confuse the form with its activity. The form itself is beyond the sensible qualities it gives rise to.

“In a power I cannot see any color or shape or similar mark such as those on which in many other cases I fix my eyes in discriminating in my thought one thing from another. But in the case of a power I look to one thing only-that to which it is related and what it effects, and it is in this way that I come to call each of them a power…” Republic 477c-d.

The effects of a given power since they preserve in part the power of their cause act as indications of the power’s causal activity. But effects do not fully preserve the force of their originating power. If they did, there would be no way to distinguish the cause from the effect. You would have another instance of the cause if effects preserved fully the power of the cause. Causes then are distinguished from their effects through the opposition of metaphysical and causal deficiency. (There is always more power in the cause than the effect.) Effects then function as signs of their causes, leading reason back to the underlying nature or power that is giving off the sign.

“Indeed, the opposite is true of them-an image cannot remain an image if it presents all the details of what it represents.” Cratylus 432b

So for Plato, the body qua tool of soul is a sign of the soul since by it the soul communicates and gestures. More directly put, the body is the sign of the soul’s causal power. Strictly speaking, for Plato, the soul is not in the body, but rather the other way around, the body is in the soul. The soul acts qua power on matter to form body, to bring about a living organism, something whose activity is to live.

“Thus some people say that the body is the tomb of the soul, on the grounds that it is entombed in its present life, while others say that it is correctly called ‘a sign’ because the soul signifies whatever it wants to signify by means of the body.” Cratylus, 400c.

So for the human being, the soul, which is itself a power grasps the signs of other objects by its various faculties or powers. Perception then for Plato is not a passive matter. It is not something we undergo, but an activity we engage in. 

“Shall we say that powers are a class of entities by virtue of which we and all other things are able to do what we do or they are able to do? I mean that sight and hearing, for example are powers…” Republic 477cff.

The mistake that most people make concerning signs is they confuse them with the power that produced them in the first place. They confuse the image with the reality where the image is a mere extension of the causal force. 

“Now all of the above are among the auxiliary causes employed in the service of the god as he does his utmost to bring to completion the character of what is most excellent. But because they make things cold or hot, compact or disperse them, and produce all sorts of similar effects, most people regard them not as auxiliary causes, but as the actual causes of all things.” Timaeus 46c-d.

Here I think it is pretty obvious a distinction between the nature or essence and its image, which is nothing other than its activity or energy.  It is quite evident in say, Plotinus.

“For every existent has an Act which is in its likeness: as long as the one exists, so does the other; yet while the original is stationary the activity reaches forth, in some things over a wide range, in others less far. There are weak and faint activities, and there are some, even, that do not appear; but there are also things whose activities are great and far-going; in the case of these the activity must be thought of as being lodged, both in the active and powerful source and in the point at which it settles.” Enneads 4.5.7

Plotinus carries on the tradition by distinguishing two activities of a given essence-the inward and the outward. 

“But how from amid perfect rest can an Act arise? There is in everything the Act of the Essence and the Act going out from the Essence: the first Act is the thing itself in its realized identity, the second Act is an inevitably following outgoing from the first, an emanation distinct from the thing itself.” Enneads 5.4.2 

As with Plato, the sign, image or activity discloses the nature of the underlying and hidden power. The idea is quite simple, really. Causes are known by their effects. 

“The act reveals the power, a power hidden, and we might almost say obliterated or nonexistent, unless at some moment it became effective: in the world as it is, the richness of the outer stirs us all to the wonder of the inner whose greatness is displayed in acts so splendid.” Enneads 4.8.5

To be sure, this isn’t exactly the idea that the God-bearing Fathers have in mind. But it is the case that the distinction is present long before they arrived and is modified by them to make it suitable for Christian theology, specifically by removing the opposition between things-distinction doesn’t imply contradiction for in Christ the two natures and two wills are distringuished but not opposed. And part of the problem during say the Arian controversy is for example with the later Arians like Eunomius, he conceives of effects as cut off and separate entities from their source. So if the Son is the power of God, then he must be a separate individual entity for essences are absolutely simple objects permitting no plurality. Gregory of Nyssa on the other hand does not view things this way. Plurality in the essence does not compromise the integrity of the essence.

“As far as I can see, this indicates that Gregory’s concept of divine activity may be characterized as follows: (1) the activity is closely united with the entity that executes it. It springs from an inherent power of its being. (2) The activity is not some separate reality occuring ‘between’ the cause and the effect. (3) The activity does not terminate at the moment an external result is accomplished, but resides in the result as the imprint of the art of the maker.” Torstein Tollefsen, “Essence and Activity (energia) In eunomius and St. Gregory of Nyssa,” in Gregory of Nyssa: Contra Eunomium II, 2007, p. 440.

Consequently for Saint Gregory, there is nothing between the Father and the Son for they are of one essence and because relations only occur between beings or activities. So the persons are not relations. To think of a relation qua essence between the two or to think of them as relations of the essence, is to confuse essence with activity or be-ing, where the latter term denotes a verb. This is why we insist that God is not being or God is beyond being.

So, I am not making things up when I claim that the Palamite distinction between essence and energies is nothing other than what the God-bearing Fathers before Palamas taught.

“Firstly, I think it could be fairly said that Gregory of Nyssa’s doctrine of energia is well integrated within his Christian system and owes nothing to a Eunomian concept. Secondly, the Palamitic concept of energia is as dynamic as the one we find in the writings of Gregory of Nyssa. Finally, when Palamas appeals to the tradition for his concept of energia, it strikes me that he does not have to distort the thought of Gregory in order to make the idea of energia useful for his own purposes. There is, I think, a positive link between the two Gregories, and what is bizarre is that some modern scholars have missed the real import of Palamas’ theology.” Torstein Tollefsen, “Essence and Activity (Energia) In Eunomius and St. Gregory of Nyssa,” in Greogry of Nyssa: Contra Eunomium II, 2007, p. 442

37 Responses to Things That I Make Up

  1. […] 3rd, 2007 in theosis by Andrea Elizabeth My husband didn’t think I was very clear in my comment over on Energetic Procession, and now neither do I, so I’ll try to untangle it a bit. The […]

  2. Neo:

    I confess to not having taken up such a line of thought, but one thing that comes rather immediately and obviously to mind is that the critique would not take place primarily within the paradigm of rationalistic arguments.

    I’m not familiar enough with patristic critiques of paganism to work some analogies, but I know that modern (and modernist) Christian critiques of atheism, materialism/monistic physicalism, and naturalism/anti-supernaturalism seem always to meet these matters on their own terms, which is to say in terms of a rationalistic dialectic. This, to me, is a mistake, and one I try assiduously to avoid in meeting student objections in my classes.

    That said, however, I’m not sure how far forward a dialogue can go when neither party would subscribe to the same first principles. And that is what we’re talking about here: atheists, materialists, and naturalists would not posit the first principles from which “Palamites” start, and “Palamites” would similary reject their opponents starting points. I suppose “Palamites” would have to demonstrate the incoherence of atheists, materialilsts and naturalists starting points. But now were into presuppositional arguments.

  3. Oops, I left the “r” out of my url. My comment was not spam.

  4. JKC says:

    Jack,

    I have been really trying to follow what you have been saying on this thread and I find myself getting frustrated, until now. I know it probably me because I have not really grasped the concepts involved, but I think I get it. Everything you say is not an equivocation because you have not distinctly defined anything.

    Jack is a singular because two Jacks equal one Jack. In other words, since Jack is a nature and Jack is a person, Jack is not merely Jack but identical to Jack. Since Jack is energy, Jack is the logos Jack, and therefore there are various manifestations of Jack, which it all amounts to saying…. 

  5. Benedict Seraphim, EP crew, & Jack,

    I am going to throw this question out here:

    What would Orthodox/Patristic critiques of atheism, materialism, and naturalism look like? I have recently become interested in this question for both academic and personal reasons.

  6. Jack says:

    Perry,

    Thanks. What you’ve said about modern understandings of Platonism is correct. There is a vast divergence of opinion as to what exactly falls under this tradition, which is why the use of “platonism” as a catch-all is not helpful.

    Platonism, at least as Perl articulates it, is not “dialectical” in the sense that you intend, nor could it be. Hypostases–a concept that is not limited to “persons”–are not, contra some popular ‘christian’ ontologies, opposed to natures, nor are they involved in the overcoming of natures, nor are they mere instances of natures. Again, as I stated above, Perry is Perry. To be the singularity by the name of Perry means, in part, to be “not Jack.” Perry is a form, or, if you will, a logoi, or energy, we might even call it a “nature” or genera, metaphysically necessary in order to identify the various manifestations of Perry. Again, however, Perry and Jack are not ontological opposites because, while Perry is not hypostatically Jack, Perry and Jack are, in their humanity, not merely similar but identical. Furthermore, to be hypostatically “not Jack” is to include Jack as part of the hypostatic definition of Perry. To put it simply, Perry could not be Perry without Jack.

    This is distinction in communion and not separation and opposition. We are not opposed, we different and identical. Platonism has the resources to be much richer than you seem to characterize it.

  7. Nathan:

    I’m not Perry, but I recently wrote a reflexion on what the “cash value” of the essence/energies distinction means for me.

    If Perry and Photios don’t object, you can read the post via this link.

  8. nathanwells says:

    Hi Perry,

    Thanks for taking time to write – I can totally agree with what you said, “Moses sees God but he also doesn’t see God.”

    I guess my questions stem more from my lack of understanding of how making such precise explanations of what that “glory” that Moses saw was, allows me to grow in my relationship with God – or how it causes me to worship him in a more full way.

    Could you maybe write a little on some personal practical application of your understanding of these matters? How has it affected your life? Or, if no personal application: if the distinctions and specifics (as far as what exactly is going on when Moses “sees” God) are in Scripture (as I think you believe), for what purpose did God write about them (2 Tim. 3:16)?

    Thanks again for your time,
    Nathan

  9. The question is can human activity be divine or simply a diminished analog to it

    If man is created in the image of God, then his activity is like God’s. Calvinists (the supreme instrumentalists) say that all activity is divinized in that God is the direct cause of everything, even the fall and hell’s occupants. Like creation is the glove and God is the hand. Btw, this is how they view the writings of the Scriptures.

    So how can there be God-like activity common to all humans, like dancing, communicating, eating (Jesus ate and drank so maybe that’s a new one for God or maybe God has always done something like eating,also the epiphany to Abraham ate and drank), etc, and what is the nature of divinized, sinless, superhuman activity. I’m thinking the answer is that instead of being an instrument, or being a mimic (dancing beside), it is in participating in the mode of God’s dancing, which can be analogized to dancing with, but also receiving from Him the energy through communion.

    Back to the eschaton, if the Saint is doing different activities, choosing different goods, then is this energized state maintained through attentiveness to the One, so that instead of independently choosing this or that, they are instead multi-tasking. So that the Saint can dance with different partners as it were, but stay in communion with God, the source of the energy. And so it isn’t Him exactly directing them to which partner, though He may, but they may freely choose on their own, but according to His good pleasure and “rules”?

    I have often thought that ballroom dancing was the nature of life in communion with the Trinity. George and I took a few lessons a while back. I guess men have to view it a little differently. A gentleman told me one time that the way he views the Christ/Church relationship is that God is the example of how to love, so there is distinction in the initiating/receptive rolls of men and women. Yet submission is for all humans. My husband sees that more in the father/son relationship, and in a military heirarchy sort of way, though there is opportunity for advancement where consultation and candid speech is invited. And it seems to me that many Saints, like Nectarios and Seraphim, provided support for women’s monasteries, illustrating the Christ is the head of the man, and the man is the head of the woman principle. I am really blessed to hear that those at the bottom of the chain are not getting diminished left-overs.

    This is all related to energies being equal to, in that they are causes, but distinguished from the Source without confusion, I’m thinking.

  10. Levi and Nathanwells,

    Here is some material to help you get your head around the distinction. Take Exodus 33 for example. Moses sees God buthe also doesn’t see God. He sees God in his glory but he never sees God for no one has ever seen or can see God. The energies the divine glory, they are his power in act-knowledge, will, simplicity, light, etc. These you can find all over the bible in theophanies for example in both the OT and NT.

    I don’t particularly care if you adopt the biblical term of energia or dunamis but the glory of God is something seen both with the mind and the eyeball and yet it isn’t a corporeal light. The glory of God then isn’t a created effect, which is why in the eschaton it can cause bodily pain to the damned.

    I hope that helps. If doesn’t, please let me know and I will try again.

  11. Jack,

    What is or isn’t part of “classical” Platonism is rather controversial once we get into the nitty gritty. Platonism like Gnosticism comes in lots of forms. Eunomius took dialectical relations to their logical conclusion or so it seems to me, to be is to be other and not the same. Essences are simple, they are always what they are and never their opposite. Or in your terms, persons just are natures. Son therefore cannot be God for to be God is to be ingenerate.

    As for the Latin conception of deity, it is not at all that God is static or sterile, but that he is only energia. This is the point of the scholastic view (more or less) that God is his act of existence, his essence is his energia. Consequently say for Aquinas, God is self subsisting being, activity and activity is not sterile but self diffusive. One of the problems with ADS is that it collapses the distinction between ousia and energia. So I see it as just the opposite as the problem you pick out.

    Consequently part of the problem fundamental to pretty much all Latin sacramental theologies is the implicit causal theory embedded in them, that causes do not fully preserve themselves in their effects such that the effect is an imitation of the cause through the fact of its being caused and its exemplification of causal power in divided and diminished degree. Grace is therefore a created effect of divine power. This is why it is always pertinent to ask concerning sacramental theologies, if the sacrament is equally a cause and not merely an effect (realism) or an instrument (nominalism). If the sacraments are themselves the divine activities and not effects the worry about real and guaranteed divine presence fades away. The question is can human activity be divine or simply a diminished analog to it such that when I dance, ,God may or may not be dancing next to me, but I either can’t know it or I am a mere instrument of it, or God is doing something like my dancing.

    As for the Perl quote, this is where I disagree. The notion of union in Maximus is distinct in the following way, because it is non-dialectical. You can’t pour new wine into old wineskins because you will burst the wineskins. Theology bursts the containers of philosophy.

    As for Farrell, I am not a devote of Farrell, but I strive to be one of Jesus. Farrell helped me to understand quite a lot, but I do not follow him in everything. And that is just to say that Farrell isn’t Jesus.

  12. Levi says:

    So, I guess everyone is too busy debating to help me understand what one of God’s energies is…

  13. Jack says:

    Photios,

    I believe what he actually said is “physis” and “hypostasis,” but the import of that is for another day.

    Platonic forms are not merely genera (nor are they merely properties). Perl discusses this in Methexis. I would put it this way: forms are necessary for all identification, from common to singular. Socrates is Socrates (more or less).

    I don’t think most, if any, contemporary academic Orthodox theologians, nor most academic philosophers, have clue one about the real shape of ancient philosophy.

    Cheers,
    Jack

  14. Jack,

    St. John of Damascus said:
    “[T]his is what leads the heretics astray, viz., that they look upon nature and person as identical.” –An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith Book III c.3

    Photios

  15. David Richards says:

    Oh jeeez…

  16. Jack says:

    Photios,

    Towards an Orthodox anti-gnosticism:

    “The difference between this and other ontologies of participation, then, lies not in the [discursive articulation] but only in the locus of its realization. . . . The union between God and the world in Maximus is not metaphysically different from that described by the Neoplatonists, who in their doctrine of theophany also present a mystical and sacramental metaphysics. But this union is acheived [for Maximus] only in Christ, and therefore in the Church and the Eucharist, who alone is the reality that these philosophers describe. In Maximus’ doctrine, then, Christ comes not to destroy but to fulfill the metaphysics . . . elaborated by the philosophers.”

    Eric Perl, “Methexis,” p. 316.

    Ecce homo. I bet Eric Perl can out arm-wrestle Dr. Farrell. He runs faster and jumps higher too.

  17. Death Bredon says:

    The West, influenced by a very non-nuanced doctrine of absolute divine simplicity DID (IMHO) construction a corollary doctrine of divine sterility — virtually ‘ADS.’ Just look at the Western teachings on deification — its so unreal. Instead of full participation in Divine Life, you try to contemplate the mind of God (what about the body?) and get the hope of a beatific vision, which already sounds like an admission that the Westerns will be in the gallery while the Easterns are down on the stage in the show.

    Whereas theosis is ontic in the East (and in Scripture!) because of the appropriation of the energy/essense distinction (which IS in Scripture in the Old Testament in Hebraic idiom — read Dr. Bradshaw on the OT epiphanies — and in the Paul’s Epistle’s in the Greek idiom). But in the West, theosis is merely metaphorical (analogia entis). Yes, the nuance is there, but it is just too weak to carry the weight of Truth. Therefore, it only those in the West who heroically strive to imbue Life into this weak doctrinal nuance (analogia entis) and make it fully ontological in praxis that are capable of living out Orthodox Christianity (and I believe some in the West have, are, and will do this). Of course, many (if not most) in the East will refuse the gift of deification. This is why the two ecclessial groups tend to look a lot alike in terms of sin and corruption but why both can still produce Saints.

    For additional evidence, look at post-schism Western religious art. It becomes hyper-realistic and loses any attempt to show “God in his Saints” via artistic stylism. Is the because the doctrine of theosis ha become so artificial in the West that depicting it is pointless? (While theosis remains essential to canonical Eastern iconography — hyper-realism must be avoid and stylism employed to depict the deification of the Saints.) Just judging from the religious art, could deism and the secularism of the Enlightenment have been more than a step or two away?

  18. Levi says:

    Honestly, I am still kind of confused about what this distinction is to some extent. Are God’s energies like His actions and His grace? So they are activities of his essence, but not his essence right? Which is one wouldn’t attribute things like foreknowledge to God’s nature as in Western theology?

  19. Mark Krause says:

    Photios,
    For sure man. The importance of the essence energy distinction for me was spiritual, not intellectual. No essence energies distinction=no possibility of union with God in which we retain our identity. If our telos isn’t union with God then what the crap is it?

  20. Jack,

    The essence-energy distinction isn’t necessary so that those in ivory towers can feel satisfied about having a consistent “metaphysics of creation.” That’s just gravy. It’s necessarily for a correct understanding of who God is and what he does, and most importantly for a proper understanding of the spiritual life. Palamas’ CHRISTIAN philosophical defense of such a doctrine was only for the sake of the spiritual life, not to speculate for its own sake, which is why Orthodox dogmatic theology isn’t speculative at all.

    Photios

  21. Jack says:

    Instead of “exemplific” insert exemplary.

  22. Jack says:

    The problem with western Christianity is not so much the doctrine of God’s essential absolute divine simplicity, which may be capable of correct nuance in that God is essentially, but not hypostatically, beyond distinction, but that this god is absolutely sterile, having no activities, especially of the slavific and deifying kind: absolute divine sterility (ADS)!

    This is precisely why, at the doctrinal level, salvation can be pictured in the West as merely exemplific (“imitation”) and juridical and not ontological, effecting real, even bodily, changes (this is less so with RC). The fact that material things can be deified is fundamental to traditional Christianity. Think sacraments, icons, relics, etc. As Flannery O’Connor famously observed with regard to the eucharist, if this ain’t true, what’s the point? The affirmation of this doctrine adequately demonstrates that Orthodoxy is Christianity itself. No divine activities, no eucharist.

    However, I will continue to maintain until I am forced to do otherwise that this distinction is necessary not merely to account for Christian doctrine and praxis, but that reason, rightly understood, has to make it. The One is necessary for reason, something moderns have forgotten. And, if the One has no activities, there could be no beings.

  23. nathanwells says:

    Jack,

    I actually have a copy of Dr. Bradshaw’s work, and I am currently working through it. It sounds like it is a pretty popular article!

    -Nathan

  24. Jack says:

    Perry,

    Ancient Christians were not scandalized when Dionysius celebrated the distinction. It was surely a commonplace amongst both pagans and Christians. However, arguments from history and tradition are always problematic, and more especially nowadays.

    Whether this particular ontological distinction had to be “Christianized” is something I am less confident about. Such claims always sound to me a tad bit Protestant. It seems that only Protestants have to insist on the dialectical opposition of Christianity with everything else. Stolen Egyptian gold is still gold, even if it is now put to use in Christian temples, no?

    As you describe it, the problem with Eumonios appears to be a philosophical one, namely that he separated, rather than merely distinguished, divine activities from their effects. This separation is not part of classical Platonism. And, frankly, it is just ignorant. An activity separated from its effect it would no longer be an activity. To be an activity is to effect. Likewise, if beings were separated from Being they would not be.

    Nathan,

    I believe Dr, Bradshaw has an essay about the “energia” of God in the writings of St. Paul. Perhaps somebody could refer Nathan to this essay? The title might have been “the divine glory and the divine energies.”

  25. nathanwells says:

    Ah, that makes sense – thanks Benedict Seraphim.

  26. Nathan:

    Perry isn’t looking to Plato for proof of what Christians believe. Rather he is rebutting a charge that Christians invented the essence/energies distinction and then eisegeted it back into the early Fathers and the Scripture. That is to say, if the distinction appears as far back as Plato, then clearly the “Palamites” did not invent the distinction.

    The question then remains: did the Christians illegitimately appropriate the distinction (i.e., is it a distinction which violates some biblical positive norm?), or is it a distinction not only in concert with Scripture but witnessed to by the earliest Christians?

    That’s the crux of the matter.

  27. nathanwells says:

    But I would still be interested in understanding from Perry the purpose of looking into Plato for proof.

    As Photios rightly said correcting me, “Plato didn’t have the same idea as the Christian’s did with energeia.”

    And Perry said:
    “To be sure, this isn’t exactly the idea that the God-bearing Fathers have in mind. But it is the case that the distinction is present long before they arrived and is modified by them to make it suitable for Christian theology, specifically by removing the opposition between things-distinction doesn’t imply contradiction for in Christ the two natures and two wills are distringuished but not opposed.”

    I guess I just more confused than anything else. I don’t see the reason, I don’t see the Bible in this.

    Is this along the lines of understanding God so that you can become gods? Like Monk Patrick said: “The “models” of God are important because to be united with God we must accept Him as He is and we must live as He does.”

  28. nathanwells says:

    “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Mt 7:12)

  29. nathanwells says:

    That is up to you Photios, I obviously cannot force you to interact, just as you found with me.

  30. Nathan,

    Sorry, I’m not really interested in people coming to my blog that interact with a condescending tone that aren’t going to diplay a willingness to learn Orthodox theology especially within the context of the post. You as a newcomer here need to show that you can interact in this manner.

    All of Rome’s protestant children and confessions have maintained the Augustinian and scholastic doctrine of divine simplicity.

    Photios

  31. nathanwells says:

    I must have misunderstood what Perry meant then.

    My tradition does use it – but we have translated it (I don’t speak Greek).

    And while I was trying to interact with what had been actually been written by the author, you have attacked me in something that I did not even state I believed. There is no point in answering you.

  32. Nathan,

    Plato didn’t have the same idea as the Christian’s did with energeia. And guess what, it’s a biblical term, so why isn’t your tradition using it?? And where in the bible is your Neoplatonic doctrine of absolute divine simplicity??

    Photios

  33. nathanwells says:

    You said, “If some form of a distinction between essence and energy can be found, say among the Platonists, this makes it all the more unlikely that the distinction is a product of later Palamitic ‘developments.'”

    I’m curious, why do you think there is value if Plato had the same idea as you? What if the Bible doesn’t have the same idea as you? Would not that be more important to focus on?

    Or must you go outside the Bible for your ideas?

    I realize my comments could be inflammatory, but I do ask them genuinely. I honestly am wondering, and would fully appreciate your further explanation on the matter.

  34. David Richards says:

    This will take some time to digest…

  35. Death Bredon says:

    The opposite of Palamite is heretic.

  36. You up early, too? I just saw this go up. I will enjoy going over it slowly in the coming days.

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